With an estimated 700,000 hotels and resorts worldwide, differentiating your establishment in the competitive hotel industry can be challenging. Knowing the core group of people that make up your ideal target audience, as well as how to reach them, is crucial. We’ve recently put together an e-book on marketing best practice tips for hoteliers. Don’t hesitate to download it if you need a bit of a refresher on everything hotel marketing. 

As the internet is becoming more and more crowded, standing out from the noise is increasingly difficult, even for the most experienced hoteliers. As such, entrepreneurial hotel owners have discovered that they are much more successful when choosing a niche target market instead. 

A niche marketing strategy focuses on targeting one particular section of the market that has a specific set of needs. This niche market has a higher likelihood of becoming potential customers. Often simpler and more cost-effective to advertise to, niche markets usually result in hotel owners enjoying larger margins on their products or services. What’s more, hotels engaging in niche marketing programmes tend to have less competition to worry about and can also enjoy more brand loyalty because niche markets are often under-served. 

Finding a niche hotel market is key, and it largely depends on your establishment’s strengths, as well as your ability to adapt existing services or develop new ones to appeal to a niche audience. To make life a little easier, we’ve gone ahead and listed the best niche market segments for hotels that you may want to consider:

Based on guest preferences: pet-friendly hotels

Today, more than ever before, pet owners see their furry friends as irreplaceable members of their families and lives. In 2018, pet industry spending reached an all-time high, with owners spending a total of US$72.56 billion on products and services to improve the health and well-being of their pets.

As this niche market continues to grow, more and more hotels are offering pet-friendly stays. Often, this includes having amenities such as pet food, water bowls and outdoor play areas. According to a recent article, some hotels even have doggie room-service because guests are more likely to dine-in if their pet can enjoy a meal by their side. 

Besides improving guest experience, pet-friendly accommodations can also benefit from an increase in brand loyalty, which often results in return bookings and word of mouth marketing. Furthermore, pet lovers are usually willing to spend money on their furry companions. As a result, pet-friendly hotels find that they can charge a pet fee for guests, or offer premium hotel rooms to accommodate their needs. 

At HotelREZ, we offer pet-friendly breaks as a new niche marketing rate for hotels. Find out more about our pet-friendly rate criteria and register your interest. 

Based on guest interests and hobbies: gourmet, spa and golf hotels

The number of travellers referring to themselves as ‘foodies’, also known as people interested in haute cuisine, has grown exponentially. Wellness tourism, listed as one of Forbes’ biggest travel trends for 2019, is projected to grow twice as fast as general tourism and expected to reach US$919 billion by 2022. And as more and more Baby Boomers are retiring with higher discretionary incomes than their predecessors, the golf travel industry is booming.  

The rise in interest and hobby-based tourism provides a perfect opportunity for hotels with niche business ideas to increase their RevPar. Properties wanting to stand out in the food tourism industry have found that offering packages to include local food tours or fine dining experiences work exceptionally well. Similarly, hotels jumping on the wellness tourism bandwagon can differentiate themselves by offering a range of experiences such as spa treatments, meditation classes, outdoor activities and healthy food and drink. 

And if you’re lucky enough to have a golf course located on or near your hotel, then marketing your property as a golf retreat won’t be difficult. According to recent trends, women are very influential when it comes to making golf trip destination decisions for couples. So make sure your hotel marketing campaigns feature ladies as well!

Based on hotel type: boutique and airport hotels

Another niche market to target is the type of hotel that guests commonly search for. Boutique hotels tend to have a stereotype: they are artsy, edgy and often luxurious. Located in the heart of trendy cities, they place great importance on personalised services and boast colourful personalities. In the last few years, they have increased in popularity among guests looking to immerse themselves in authentic, local experiences. 

And the numbers speak for themselves: according to the 2019 Boutique Hotel Report, boutique establishments are one of the fastest-growing segments in the US hospitality industry, achieving US$20 billion in revenue in 2018 alone. If your hotel is a hidden gem and you can offer your guests a unique, experiential stay, then marketing yourself to this niche group might be helpful for you. 

Similarly, if your establishment is located close to an airport, then highlighting this to potential guests could do more for you than you might think. According to Travel Weekly, annual global air passenger counts are due to double to 7 billion people by 2034. As a result, we are seeing the development of what’s known as ‘airport cities’, whereby airports are no longer just transit hubs but rather shopping, leisure and business destinations in their own right.

Airport hotels are also more than just a ‘stopover’ for corporate travellers. The ‘bleisure’ trend, in which business travellers incorporate an element of leisure into their work trips, has seen an increase in the number of nights a hotel gets booked for. According to a recent survey, 75% of respondents said they had extended business trips for leisure purposes, in most cases multiple times in a year. 

How to market your hotel to niche segments

Now that you have an idea of the type of niche markets that you can tap into to promote your hotel, the question arises of how to best target those segments. At HotelREZ, we promote our member hotels through a variety of marketing campaigns and on our HO chain code, which is visible to thousands of agencies worldwide and targeted niche markets on the GDS. In 2018, our niche rates programme yielded in an excess of 20,000 reservations and over US$4 million in revenue for participating hotels. We offer our hotels the following: 

  • Preferred Partners
    We promote hotel members to our preferred partners, including WIN Travel Network, ABC, CCRA, BCD and THOR, through face to face visits, targeted communications and point of sale advertising. Find out more about our preferred partnerships or have a look at some promotional examples.

  • Email newsletters
    Every quarter, we promote niche marketing rates to agents via a dedicated newsletter. Emails are dispatched to a global database of travel agents, consortiums, TMCs and corporate bookers. Read up on our hotel marketing solutions or see some travel agent newsletter examples

    “The niche programmes such as Great Rate Sale and Business Traveller are a perfect way to tap into additional agency GDS bookings and revenue.”
    Alessandra Leoni, Head of Revenue & Distribution The Nadler Hotels

  • Consumer blog
    Niche rates are promoted on our travel blog, which includes niche hotel collections, travel offers and travel inspiration for bookers. Here’s an example of stories on our consumer blog that are created around hotel collections, niche rates and special offers.
  • Booking website
    We promote niche rates on our booking website – both on the home page as well as in our special collection and offer pages. Have a look at some examples of website banners and our niche rate collections.
  • Social media
    We also use our social media channels to promote niche hotel rates to end consumers, featuring seasonal hotel promotions and deals, tagging the hotel’s own social profiles to increase visibility. Here are a few of our social media post examples

    “Over the years we have entered the niche campaigns offered by HotelREZ to gain fantastic exposure in their e-commerce and social media activities.”
    Pamela Shaw, Group IT Manager Hastings Hotels

Discover niche market opportunities with HotelREZ

At HotelREZ, we provide quality distribution, representation, marketing and consultancy services to more than 1,500 hotels in over 100 countries. We’re experts at niche marketing campaigns to help our member hotels receive more bookings, and we’ve recently launched our pet-friendly hotel rate

Find out more about our niche marketing rates or get in touch today to discuss how your hotel can benefit from targeting a niche audience. 

About HotelREZ 

HotelREZ Hotels & Resorts was founded in 2004 by Mark Lewis, an experienced hospitality industry professional and entrepreneur. Over the course of over a decade, the company has grown to be one of the leading hotel representation companies dedicated to marketing and connecting independent properties with bookers worldwide. HotelREZ now provides distribution, revenue, sales consultancy and marketing services and support to more than 1,500 hotels, apartments and hotel groups in over 100 countries including private label GDS chain code solutions. HotelREZ Hotels & Resorts is a SAAS company. 

HotelREZ manages the brand Best Loved Hotels, a collection of unique global individual properties, with a dedicated GDS Programme, together with a Website and printed Directory, aimed at the high-end leisure agency and traveller. HotelREZ also incorporates the global World Rainbow hotels, the world’s only GDS enabled LGBT global hotel consortia representing some 1200 hotels in 230 destinations across the globe.